"Seeing how hard she works and how hard she practises and how dedicated she is, it definitely flipped a switch with me that I could be a little more like that," said the 23-year-old world number one.
"She's definitely been a great influence on me.
"I've always felt like I've been dedicated to the game and I've practised hard and I've worked at it.
"But I guess over the past 18 months, especially after winning the US Open, I sort of felt like I went to the next stage of my career.
"I feel like my personality away from the golf course hasn't changed, but definitely when I get to the golf course I'm maybe a little more professional, a little more business-like.
"I guess that's just the way you have to be to be successful and to try and win as many tournaments as you can.
"It's definitely helped and obviously helped me to win more tournaments."
On winning the vote among his fellow players the Northern Irishman added: "It's an honour and I'm delighted. It's always nice to get recognition from your peers.
"It's very rewarding, and I guess it's just a great way to end what has been a great year and my best season so far."
Meanwhile, Justin Rose will battle jetlag and local favourite Adam Scott at the Australian Open in Sydney this week as he seeks to cap his outstanding year with a win Down Under.
Rose has little left to prove after finishing second on the European Tour money's list behind McIlroy but victory would help the 32-year-old forget his dreadful showing at the invitational Nedbank Golf Challenge last week.
Rose finished second to McIlroy at the DP World Tour Championship two weeks ago, with a course record 62 in his final round in Dubai, but promptly fell from the sublime to the ridiculous at Sun City, where he crashed out to finish second-last in the field of 12.
"I think it was just a hiccup," the South Africa-born Rose said. "Sometimes when you are around family, subconsciously you want to play really, really well for them. I think there was an element of frustration. I think it was the first week when the season caught up with me. That is natural.
"I think you are allowed to play poorly once in a while and let it be water off a duck's back."
Rose has every reason to give himself a break, having boosted his world ranking to a career-high fourth after a season boasting wins at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March and the World Golf Final in Turkey in October.
Rose, who finished seventh on the USPGA Tour money list, returns to the Australian Open a far different player from the newly-minted professional who competed for the 1998 title.
After finishing fourth at the British Open in 1998 as a 17-year-old amateur, Rose turned professional but missed 21 cuts in succession, including the Australian Open in Adelaide.
"There was a lot of scar tissue that built up in the early stages of my career that ultimately took a lot of time to break down and get over," Rose said.
"Only in the past two or three years do I think I have completely overcome it, truly believe in myself under pressure and believe I am one of the best players in the world."